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Labour Efficiency - "Enjoyable and Easier Farming"

Welcome to the focus farms “Enjoyable and Easier Farming" weekly update. Six farmers who are focussed on making their farm more enjoyable and easier have kindly agreed to share their experiences of their farm practices. Martina Gormley Teagasc Dairy specialist will analyse and provide a summary after each quarter for the six farms.If you have any queries about any of the six farmers or the labour efficient practices please contactmartina.gormley@teagasc.ie

Check out theSpring 2020 Summaryhere

Week ending: Sunday May 24th

Jimmy Cotter

Farm Profile:Jimmy Cotter(120 cows)
Morning milking (cups on):7:15
Evening milking (cups on):17:00
No.of milkings by farmer:12
Farmers hours per week:57
Employee/family hours/week:20
Contractor used this week:Silage and fertiliser

Comment:There was 35 acres of 1st cut made last Monday the 17th May.I am happy with the yield and quality.I also had the contractor in to spread fertiliser on this ground.It took him 1 hr to spread 30 acres.It’s a great service.The last of the heifers went to the contract rearer last Wednesday the 20th May.If the calving pattern was spread out Id have the calves for another month.

Jeremiah & Maria Daly

Farm Profile:Jeremiah & Maria Daly(60 cows OAD)
Morning milking (cups on):6.30
Evening milking (cups on):OAD
No.of milkings by farmer:6
Farmers hours per week:24
Employee/family hours/week:10
Contractor used this week:None

Comment:This time of the year is really enjoyable.The pace of work is slow.We have an ideas whiteboard in the dairy.Any ideas, for extra work to be done go here.These days we are looking at this board and planning ahead.The herd hit 4% protein last week.Looking back on figures, it was august last year when the hit this protein %.I put it down to spending more time managing grass.For farm profitability this is a must to have this time available.

Steven Fitzgerald

Farm Profile:Steven Fitzgerald(145 cows)
Morning milking (cups on):6:30
Evening milking (cups on):15:30
No.of milkings by farmer:14
Farmers hours per week:55
Employee/family hours/week:24
Contractor used this week:Silage

Comment:There was 56 acres of pit silage made at the weekend.This ground was all grazed once.The timing was perfect.If we left it any longer it would have went to seed.All the contractors’ staff stayed around to cover the pit.This is a great help to us.Bulls are out with the cows and heifers.3 weeks of AI is done.100% of the heifers and 96% of the cows were served in the first 3 weeks.Cows not served will be scanned next week.

Tim Kelly

Farm Profile:Tim Kelly(135 cows)
Morning milking (cups on):6.30
Evening milking (cups on):4.00
No.of milkings by farmer:12
Farmers hours per week:46
Employee/family hours/week:4.5
Contractor used this week:Grass measuring, silage, Kale

Comment:I had the contractor in last week spreading slurry on the ground that had been cut for silage.This contractor also sowed 6 acres of kale for out wintering the heifers.I took Sunday off and have increased my break times per week.Bulls are out with the cows and heifers.Now is the time to reap the rewards of compact calving in the spring.

Seamus and Brian Molamphy

Farm Profile:Seamus and Brian Molamphy(130 cows)
Morning milking (cups on):7.30
Evening milking (cups on):17.00
No.of milkings by farmer:14
Farmers hours per week:52
Employee/family hours/week:10
Contractor used this week:Bales

Comment:We took out 8 acres for bales on milking block last week.This is a fantastic way of keeping grass in good quality for the cows and reduces the need for topping.Have 91% of cows submitted in the first 3 weeks of breeding.Got the vet out to check cows not served and over 30 days calved.Cystic cows were treated and 7 cows were missed in heat.Surprised by the missed heats, but glad I scanned now rather than later.

Morty O Sullivan

Farm Profile:Morty O'Sullivan(110 cows)
Morning milking (cups on):7:30
Evening milking (cups on):17:00
No.of milkings by farmer:12
Farmers hours per week:60.5
Employee/family hours/week:6
Contractor used this week:Silage

Comment:There was 35 acres of pit silage made last Thursday.Have another 30 acres to cut but this is not ready due to the moisture deficit.Decided to go with what was ready and will re open the pit for the next crop.Quality silage is a must for milking cows.They started at 2 o’clock and finished at 6 o’clock.It’s a great service and they stayed back and helped me cover the pit.It’s worth looking after your contractor.